Day One (stumps): England 318-0 v Australia ‘A’
England enjoyed a highly successful day out in the middle on the opening day of their second tour match in Australia.
Captain Alistair Cook won the toss on a sun-baked pitch in Hobart, and batted through the whole day along with new opening partner Michael Carberry. The pair finished the day unbeaten on 154 and 153 respectively, as England racked up 318 runs from 93 overs.
Hampshire batsman Carberry put himself firmly in Test contention hitting 22 fours and lofting spinner Jon Holland for two straight sixes in his 288-ball stay.
Meanwhile Cook, playing in his first match of the tour following a stiff back, showed no sign of rustiness with 19 boundaries.
On a pitch which offered very little for the bowlers, other than the occasional seam movement, Australia ‘A’ filled their line-up with potential batting candidates for the opening test match on November 21st.
Trent Copeland got the ball to nibble around early on, and got a couple of balls to sneak past the edge of Cook’s bat.
As Cook celebrated his century in the first over after the tea interval with an undemonstrative wave of his bat, his partner could be forgiven for a more emotional reaction to reaching the same landmark, three years after a blood clot on his lung threatened more than just his cricket career.
And when his former Hampshire team-mate Glenn Maxwell served up an inviting half-volley on leg stump, Carberry helped it through long leg for four to complete his first hundred in England colours, removing his helmet to acknowledge his team-mates who rose to salute the centurion.
For Carberry, more time at the middle enhances his chance of adding to his only test cap he won in 2010, playing alongside Cook in Bangladesh. Carberry contributed 72 and 65 in Chittagong.
After making 78 in the previous warm-up game at Perth, Carberry’s inclusion meant Joe Root moved down to number five, with Ian Bell rested – pointing towards a possible choice for the Test XI between Carberry and Yorkshire’s Gary Ballance, who was handed another chance in the problem position of number six, despite a first-ball failure in Perth.
Jonny Bairstow appears out of contention after being left out of a second consecutive tour match, while Chris Tremlett looks set to start in Brisbane ahead of Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin.
Cook and Carberry’s unbroken opening stand was the highest first-wicket partnership for England since Cyril Washbrook and Len Hutton put on 359 against South Africa in 1948.
Graham Thorpe and Mark Ramprakash were the last England partnership to bat through a full day, against South Australia in November 1998.
The Aussies had waited all day for a chance – and it finally came at 288-0 just after the second new ball was taken when Cutting found the edge as Carberry attempted another flashing drive, but Trent Copeland grassed a straightforward chance at gully, as if to sum up Australia’s day.